Abstract

This study attempted to explore how Asian managers learn differently in accordance with their cultures. For this purpose, a total of 600 managers from Japan, China, and Malaysia were selected, who work for AEON Co. Ltd., a leading Japanese retail firm strategically expanding over Asian countries. Results illustrate that their ways of learning varied with each three countries. Japanese managers showed their preferred ways of learning more towards feeling and reflecting; Chinese managers tended to use thinking and reflecting ways of learning; and Malaysian managers were inclined to thinking and acting modes of learning. Furthermore, in the learning dimension between integration and specialization, Chinese managers were the most balanced learners, Malaysian managers were comparatively placed in the middle, and Japanese managers exhibited the most specialization of their learning orientation. In addition to the investigation about cross-cultural differences in learning styles, this study also examined a change of learning styles in management positions of organizational hierarchy. Results indicate that Japanese and Malaysian managers became more active in learning situations to the extent that their management positions shifted to higher hierarchical ranks, whereas the learning ways of Chinese managers remained stable regardless of their management position.